The Indian newspaper The Week reported that the commission had previously criticized India's Citizenship Amendment Act, which became effective in January 2020.
In December 2019 the commission expressed concern about the legislation, which enshrined a pathway to citizenship for immigrants but specifically excluded Muslims. The commission recommended U.S. sanctions on India as a possible response.
The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom reviews alleged religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. president, Secretary of State, and Congress.
The commission's 2019 report said that religious freedom conditions in India "continued a downward trend" in 2018. It said India's "history of religious freedom has come under attack in recent years with the growth of exclusionary extremist narratives-including, at times, the government's allowance and encouragement of mob violence against religious minorities-that have facilitated an egregious and ongoing campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment against non-Hindu and lower-caste Hindu minorities. Both public and private actors have engaged in this campaign."
Mob violence against Christians by Hindus has been particularly acute.
In August 2019, six suspected members of a radical Hindu group were arrested after dozens of Catholics were attacked on a Marian pilgrimage from Karnataka to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni, a coastal town in south east India.
In September, around 500 armed Hindu extremists attacked a Jesuit mission in the Archdiocese of Ranchi. Armed with sticks, chains, iron bars, knives, and pistols, the mob beat tribal students including two who were seriously injured, and also seriously damaged the school's facilities.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal has said numerous mob lynchings of Christians have occurred in which the victims are accused of eating beef or otherwise harming cattle, which are considered sacred in Hinduism.
Karnataka state suffered a wave of anti-Christian violence in 2008, when Hindu extremist groups led attacks on churches, schools and homes of Christians and physically beat hundreds of people. A 2011 independent report on the violence, known as the Saldhana Report, charged that attacks were pre-planned and backed by the state's highest government authorities.